Sunday, March 2, 2014

Whirlygig Tutorial

Whirlygig is a simple but beautiful block that is perfect for baby quilts.

I had several charm squares left over from previous quilts. I decided to make whirlygigs. I also decided to document each step and I took a lot of pictures, one for every step. I hope that when some newbie quilter stumbles upon my blog, they will be encouraged to try this block.

You need four charm squares (two of each color and background) to make one whirligig block. Think of it as a modified four-patch. the instructions below show you how to make two whirlygig blocks.

Here are the steps in making whirlygigs:
1. Take four background charm packs. I had white on hand. You can use any solid neutral.
Place the charm packs on your cutting mat aligning them with the lines on the cutting mat.

2. Place four color squares on top of the white squares.

3. Now place your ruler in a way that connects the 2" mark from top left corner to the 2" mark from the bottom right corner. Using your rotary cutter, cut along the ruler. I am using the triangle ruler because it is small and easier to work with than the 6 by 24.

4. Cut all four

5. Switch the pieces on the right side. Move the color to the bottom and bring the background to the front.

6. Now the white left is matched with color on the right and vice versa.

7. Flip the fabric pieces on the right over to the left, carefully aligning the cut edges.

8. Repeat for all color+background sets and arrange them in a neat stack, ready for chain piecing.

9. Chain piece :-)

10. Iron to the dark side.

11. The restitched squares will look like this. This is the basic block - 4 of these will make the whirlygig.

12. First arrange the top and bottom piece, just the corners touching.

13. Now add the pieces to the left and right, completing the pinwheel or whirlygig.

14. Once again, flip the right square over the one on the left. 

15. Chain piece :-)

16. Iron to the dark side. The resulting piece looks like this. Reorient the piece to make the whirlygig shape.

17. Place a pin to match the seams and stitch it using a 1/4" seam.

18. Once finished and ironed, you will need to trim the whirlygig square.  The finished square will be 8.5"

  • To make 35 whirlygigs you will require 70 color and 70 background 5" squares.

  • Arrange whirlygigs 5 blocks by 7 blocks. Add a 2.5" border.

  • The finished quilt top will measure about 44" by 60"

See what I got after I trimmed all 35 of my whirlygig squares.

But I also got this

I used strips from a black jelly roll to add borders. I wanted a simple border so that the colors of the whirlygigs could be the star.

A close-up picture of the whirlygigs - they look like little pinwheels in the breeze.

Finished quilt top waiting for backing, batting, quilting and binding. Ooh, don't forget to add a label.

Here is the finished quilt. I decided to call this one - "Hello Spring" 
Hope the weather Gods will be pleased!!!

If you have any questions, please ask me. And thank you for stopping by.


  1. Great tutorial. As I read and looked at this, the resulting block REALLY looks like the block you get when using the twister tool - but without all the waste and extra work! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Very nice! If I ever decide to try my talents with quilts I will come back to this blog. Thanks.

  3. I like this. Your quilt turned out beautiful. Thank you for the tutorial - I would like to try this out.

  4. Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial.

  5. How do you do it without a cutting mat?

    Sandy Brewer

  6. Love this one also! Save your really skinny scraps for the spring when the birds are building or rebuilding their nests - if you do not have another use for them! You are awesome!

  7. This one is going on the list and bumped to the TOP.... right after all the Holiday stuff,, it's one to use up all the charm bundles:) GB

  8. Thank you for such a great tutorial! I will be starting this one today for a baby quilt. I enjoy your blog and seeing all of your beautiful work! Thanks sew much for sharing!

  9. Love the Whirlygig Preeti, wonderfully simple tutorial! You rock! As I have a gazillion 5 inchers cut up from leftovers, this will make excellent use of them, AND very Preeti as well, LOL!

  10. just discovered this pattern. checked my charms and have loads to do this.tutorial is excellent.

  11. I was trying to figure out how to make this pattern without templates a couple of weeks ago. I was not very sucessful, so I am delighted to have found your tutorial! Thank you.

  12. Great tutorial ! Thank you !! Love the finished quilt !